You and Me and P B Shelley

You and Me and P B Shelley

What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn’t there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
Life is pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not noticing notices which say PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson
and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour later covered with spots that are indubitably genuine.
Life is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
But, were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.
Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel beating his luminous wings against the void in vain.
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts.
And that Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL just like everybody else.

from Candy is Dandy: the best of Ogden Nash (Andre Deutsch, 1994), by permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, New York. Recordings used by permission of the BBC

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